The NSA is the most secretive, most heavily funded, largest, and most technologically advanced of the 17 US intelligence organizations, i.e. the elite of the “intelligence community.” There is no such thing as egalitarianism among the power elite just as there is no such thing as egalitarianism in the wider society. The power elite itself is stratified into a layered hierarchy. It’s interesting that the NSA would be at odds with the CIA and FBI over this. My tentative theory is that while certain Deep State sectors are working to oust Trump and put the neocons back in charge of foreign policy, the highest strata of the Deep State is apparently indifferent because, like Goldman-Sachs in the financial realm, they are powerful enough to stand over and above conflicts even within the domestic US power elite itself.
By Dave Decamp
The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday that the National Security Agency “strongly dissented from other intelligence agencies’ assessment that Russia paid bounties for the killing of US soldiers in Afghanistan.”
The Journal cites “people familiar with the matter” and does not give much detail, but the story is noteworthy, as the NSA has dissented from other agencies in the past over allegations against Russia. A January 2017 intelligence assessment that concluded Russia interfered in the 2016 election on President Trump’s behalf was given “high confidence” by the CIA and FBI while the NSA gave “moderate confidence.”
Another account of the NSA not giving much weight to this intelligence was given to CBS News reporter Catherine Herridge on Monday. An unnamed intelligence official told Herridge that the NSA deemed a report on the Russian bounties “uncorroborated.” The official said the report “does not match well-established and verifiable Taliban and Haqqani practices” and lacks “sufficient reporting to corroborate any links.”
The CIA is used as an example in the Journal’s report of an agency the NSA allegedly disagreed with over the intelligence. So far, the CIA has declined to comment on the issue besides a vague statement from CIA Director Gina Haspel. “When developing intelligence assessments, initial tactical reports often require additional collection and validation … Leaks compromise and disrupt the critical interagency work to collect, assess, and ascribe culpability,” Haspel said.